When You Actually Love the Bedtime Stall Strategy


“Mama – let’s have special time together, OK?”

“OK, sounds great!”

“Let’s snuggle and then you can scratch my back.”

“OK angel, let’s do it.”

“I want you to do five shapes, then five numbers, then five letters.”

“Sure.”

“No. How about seven shapes, then seven numbers, then seven letters?”

“How about five?”

“Mmmmm. How about three?”

“Excellent.  Three it is….”

I then proceed to scratch variations of all of the above on her back while she delights in guessing what I’m doing. At age 3 1/2, she’s doing remarkably well at this little game.  She consistently nails most shapes and certain numbers and letters (1, 2, 3, 4 and s, i, m, c, and x).

We’ve been doing this since I started working last week. It’s a bed time routine that feels fun and sweet for both of us and makes up for lost time together during the day.

Last night, it got sweeter. Her going-to-sleep stall strategy was unexpectedly quite brilliant. After a long series of “7 each” letter, number and shape back scratchings and two solid foot rubs, I said, “OK Angel Face, time to say ‘Good Night.'”

“Wait Mama!  I want to scratch your back and rub your feet.”

(Um….ok!)  “OK Sweetie, that sounds nice!”

I was already completely sold and wrapped around her finger when she enthusiastically scratched my back and rubbed my feet for 20 minutes straight. Then her sweetness doubled and I wished we could freeze time and snuggle up together in her twin bid forever.

She asked me to move my body so that my feet were more accessible to her for rubbing. I ended up rather contorted and she saw that my head was starting to fall of the edge of the bed.

“Mama, I need to hold on to you,” she said.  “Because I really love you and I don’t want  you to fall off.”

Call me Butter.  I think I finally left her to sleep at 8:45 tonight.

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9 Responses to “When You Actually Love the Bedtime Stall Strategy”

  1. Julie says:

    That is so sweet. We do something similar at our house. I think ever kid (and mom) needs memories like these. Sometimes the world is spinning so fast we forget how easy it is to just make a lasting memory as the sun and the moon trade shifts in the sky. Beautiful writing, by the way!

  2. Brie H says:

    Oh my this is so sweet!! I love it – I totally would have done the same thing!

  3. Dawnie says:

    Sadly, our bedtime stall tactics are not so sweet. He screams “I’m staying up in the midnight MOM!!!!” But when we finally reach bed, books, backrub and prayers, he’s calmed down. It’s just getting to that point that can make my head explode. 🙂

  4. Emilia says:

    what a sweetheart!

    i love reading your blog, monica. you’re a beautiful writer. i hope to someday meet you at a local AP event and thank you for your inspiring words.

    • Emilia! Thank you so much!! One of these days I’ll get out of the house and attend an AP event. Would love to meet you. I hope you will come to the Mother’s Day event that I’m hosting at Big Red Sun. More details to come on this site — but it will be a delightful Mother’s Day Brunch and Concert. A CD Release Party for the Sweet Songs Album I’ve been working on for 3 years now with 7 other women in town. 🙂

  5. Traci Reiser says:

    oh Monica, I am weeping. What a beautiful post.

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